Heritage Crossing Encampment Report

At last night's City Council meeting, City Manager Buck reported on actions taken to address the Heritage Crossing Encampment and all unhoused people within Sanford. We have provided a summary of his report below.

You can read his report HERE
You can watch his report HERE

Background:
  • The Heritage Crossing Encampment has been a key focus for over a year.
  • The City and Community Partners adopted the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness's 19 Strategies to address encampments humanely.
  • Implemented in May 2024, these strategies were established as policy by the City Council.

Site Conditions:
  • The encampment was on hazardous Brownfield property formerly owned by Regco, Inc., now tax-acquired by the City.
  • The Maine Department of Environmental Protection identified significant pollution.
  • Regco, Inc. refused communications, leading to unsafe and unfit conditions.

Interventions:
  • Last fall, encampment residents were directed to a Warming Center at the Lafayette School, operated by York County Shelter Program until May 1, 2024.
  • On April 4, 2024, the property became tax-acquired, and regular notifications were made about the encampment's closure to encampment residents.
  • On May 20, 2024, Police Mental Health Unit Officers started daily bike patrols to increase contact and awareness.
  • Notices about the June 17th closure and available services were offered daily to encampment residents.

June 17th Closure:
  • Police, Fire, and Public Works began clearing trash and debris at 7:00 AM.
  • Mental Health Officers and City staff assessed and engaged with the remaining 10 individuals.
  • Services provided included resource guides, storage for belongings, and transportation.
  • Just two of the remaining individuals refused all services and left.
  • Public Works continued debris removal on June 18th, with Trauma Services handling hazardous materials.

Waste Removal:
  • Public Works loaded approximately 170 cubic yards of waste, including 65 propane tanks and numerous medical sharps containers.
Resource Hub Activities (Starting June 10th):
  • Total of 78 Visits
  • 51 unique people visited the hub as of 6/17/24
  • 6 people entered the York County Shelter program
  • 1 person went to Milestone
  • 1 veteran moved to permanent housing
  • 9 people (unhoused) were placed in permanent housing with Sanford Housing Properties before the HUB through case conferencing of the navigators from February to today
  • 5 people were placed into housing with Sanford Housing Authority using vouchers reserved for homeless individuals
  • 22 people housed pursuant to these recent actions

Next Steps:
  • The Homeless Task Force will meet on July 1st to continue addressing homelessness in Sanford.

Key Partners:
  • York County Community Action Corporation (YCCAC)
  • York County Shelter Programs (YCSP)
  • Sanford Housing Authority (SHA)
  • Sanford Police Department’s Mental Health Unit (MHU)
  • Various local and state agencies and programs